Leadership – Prepare for Combat

Prepare for combat 

Training Support Package (TSP) for the Marine Battle Skills Test (BST)


TASK: Prepare for combat

CONDITION: Without the aid of reference,

STANDARD: Without omitting key components


ESTIMATED TIME TO EVALUATE:  5 minutes per Marine

  1. Describe a Warning Order
  2. Describe how to conduct preparations in accordance with warning order
  3. Describe receiving the order
  4. Describe rehearsals
  5. Describe Pre-Combat Checks (PCCs)
  6. Describe Pre-Combat Inspections (PCIs)
  1. MCRP 3-10A.3 – Marine Rifle Squad
  2. MCRP 3-30.7 – Commander’s Tactical Handbook

PERFORMANCE STEP 1:  Receive warning order.

The warning order is issued as soon as practical with all information available included to assist in the conduct of a mission.  It is posted in a common area where all members of the unit will see it, or given orally to all members of the unit.  The warning order consists of the following elements and information:

  1. Situation. Friendly and enemy situation and troop activity information is necessary for initial preparation.
  1. Mission. A statement of what the unit is to accomplish its purpose for accomplishing it.  It should include who, what, when, where and why.
  1. General Instructions.
  1. Task Organization. How the unit will be organized to accomplish the mission.
  2. Alert subordinate leaders to specific key tasks.
  1. Specific Instructions. Designate specific equipment or individuals.  For example:
  1. Designation of assistant patrol leader and his role in preparation.
  2. Designation of navigators and radio operators.
  3. Designates specific tasks for fire team and or fire team members, such as aid and litter team, or rear security.

PERFORMANCE STEP 2:  Conduct preparations in accordance with warning order.

Preparation Phase. The preparation phase begins with the receipt of the warning order and ends when the lead element crosses the line of departure or when contact is made with the enemy.  Key elements of preparations include:

  1. Receiving the order
  2. Rehearsals
  3. Pre-Combat Checks
  4. Pre-Combat Inspections
  5. Test Firing

PERFORMANCE STEP 3:  Receive the order.

When receiving the five-paragraph order all members of the unit should be present with note taking material.  The unit leader will use a terrain model to assist in his presentation of the order and to allow members to visualize the operation as it is being briefed.  The operation order consists of five paragraphs: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and logistics, Command and signal (SMEAC).


Enemy Forces.  Consists of the composition, disposition, location, movement, and resent activities of enemy forces. The acronym SALUTE can be used to describe the most recent information on the enemy. The acronym DRAW-D can be used to describe the capabilities of the enemy:


Size. What is the size of the force?

Activity. What is the enemy doing?

Location. Where is enemy known or suspected to be?

Uniform. What is the enemy wearing?

Time. When were they last seen?

Equipment. What type of weapons and gear they have?

  1. DRAW-D

Defend. Will they defend?

Reinforce. Can they be reinforced, if so from where?

Attack. Will they attack?

Withdraw. A form of way the enemy disengages from the fight?

Delay. To slow and defeat as much as possible without sacrificing the tactical integrity of the unit; presents low risk to the unit?

Friendly Forces.  A statement of the mission of the higher unit, location and mission of adjacent units, and mission of supporting units.  The acronym HAS can be used to describe friendly forces. The acronym HAS stands for:

  1. Higher
  2. Adjacent
  3. Supporting

Attachments And Detachments. Units attached or detached from the squad by higher headquarters, including the effective time of attachment or detachment.


The mission is a clear concise statement of the task that the squad must accomplish. Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

“At 0800, 1st squad attacks to clear Objective A in order to prevent the enemy from interfering with convoy operations


  1. Commander’s Intent. This is a brief statement concerning what the commander is trying to achieve, thus amplifying the mission statement.  It should include the end state of what the commander wants to
  1. Concept of Operations. The concept of operations is a brief summary of the tactical plan.
  1. Subordinate Tasks. The tasks to the subordinate unit.  These will form the mission statements for these subordinate elements.
  1. Coordinating Instructions. Amplifying information to tie everything together.  Tasks that are common to all in the execution.  This contains various things such as timelines, SOP’s, control measures, and contingency plans.

Administration and Logistics.  This paragraph contains information or instructions pertaining to logistical sustainment for the mission.  It should include the location of the distribution points, corpsman, and aid station.  It also includes the handling of prisoners of war; and other administrative and supply matters.  The phrase, “the five B’s”, is used to describe this paragraph. The 5 B’s:

  1. Beans
  2. Bullets
  3. Bandages
  4. Bad guys
  5. Batteries
Command and Signal
  1. Command. Should include the location of leaders are throughout the operation, the succession of command, and amplify command relationships.
  1. Signal. This section includes the communication plan and includes items such as radio frequencies, use of signal plans, and challenge and passwords.

PERFORMANCE STEP 4:  Conduct rehearsals.

Units should conduct at a minimum the key phases of the operation and immediate action drills.  Rehearsals can also include the following drills or events:

  1. Guided discussions
  1. Walk-throughs
  1. Sand Table Exercise
  1. Map Exercise
  1. Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drill or “ROC walk”
  1. Combined Arms Rehearsal (CAR)

PERFORMANCE STEP 5:  Conduct Pre-Combat Checks (PCCs).

Prior to execution of the operation, leaders will check members of their units to ensure they have the proper equipment and knowledge to be successful.  These checks include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Having prescribed uniform, weapons, ammunition, ordnance, and equipment as indicated in the warning order. Ensure that all items are available and
  1. Having completely camouflaged face, neck, hands, and gear. Ensure Marines are correctly camouflaged using either the splotching or striping technique.
  1. Silenced gear and equipment.
  1. Having identification tags and Military Identification
  1. Not taking any unnecessary equipment and personal items.

During the check, the leader will question each member to ensure they know key pieces of information such as:

  1. The mission, routes, and fire support plan
  1. Individual assignments during the mission
  1. Casualty evacuation plan
  1. Challenge and passwords, call signs, frequencies, code words, reporting procedures

PERFORMANCE STEP 6:  Conduct Pre-Combat Inspections (PCIs).

During PCIs leaders will physically inspect the equipment of their units.  For example, test optics, conduct radio checks, inspect vehicles, and inspect combat loads.

PERFORMANCE STEP 7:  Test fire weapon (when feasible).

If possible, each Marine preparing to leave for combat will test fire their weapon before exiting friendly lines.



Prepare for combat

Evaluation Checklist





EVALUATOR NOTE:  Marines must perform all the steps below without omitting key elements in order to pass this event.  The evaluator will guide the Marine through the checklist by asking questions.

Performance StepInstructor NotesPass or Remediate
1. Describe elements of a warning order.Marine should state three of the four elements:

1. Situation

2. Mission

3. General Instructions

4. Specific Instructions

2. Describe how to conduct preparations in accordance with warning order.Marines should state three of preparations steps:

1. Receiving the order

2. Rehearsals

3. Pre-Combat Checks

4. Pre-Combat Inspections

5. Test Firing

3. Describe elements of an order.Marines should state all five paragraphs in order:

1. Situation

2. Mission

3. Execution

4. Administration and Logistics

5. Command and Signal

4. Describe the conduct of rehearsals.Marine should state one of the following events to be rehearsed:

1. Key phases of the operation

2. Immediate action drills

Marine should state two of the types of rehearsals:

7.     Guided discussions

8.     Walk-throughs

9.     Sand Table Exercise

10.  Map Exercise

11.  Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drill or “ROC walk”

12.  Combined Arms Rehearsal (CAR)

5. Describe the conduct of Pre-Combat Checks (PCCs).Marine should state two examples of PCCs:

1. The mission, routes, and fire support plan

2. Individual assignments during the mission

3. Casualty evacuation plan

4. Challenge and passwords, call signs, frequencies, code words, and reporting procedures

6. Describe the conduct of Pre-Combat Inspections (PCIs).Marine should state two examples of PCIs:

1. Test optics

2. Conduct radio checks

3. Inspect vehicles

4. Inspect loads


Prepare for combat 

Training Support Package (TSP) for the Marine Battle Skills Test (BST)